Bucket List

I find a small notebook
at a yard sale table.

A sheet falls out, words
at the top: “Bucket List.”

I note check marks in front of
“visit Europe,” “go deep sea fishing,”

“climb Twin Mountain.”  Left unchecked:
“learn to dance the tarantelle,” “complete

master’s degree,” “reconcile
with Marie.” There are others 

as well but I note only the last item,
and the check before it:

“go back and kill
the rest of those bastards.”

I ask the seller
where she got the notebook and

she says it was her father’s,
was in his effects when he died. She’s

come North to handle his estate
and these items today

are the last things to be sold
before she goes home.  

I do not ask if she’d looked through
that book before selling.

I do not ask her name.
I do not ask how her father died.

I tuck the sheet back into 
the notebook and offer her

a price for it as a lot with 
a pair of worn leather belts

and a box of shot glasses
from various tourist spots. 

She agrees
and I take it all home.  

I lay that book in my firepit
and turn it into ash.

Then
I call my father.

We talk for a long time
and make peace between us.

I cannot sleep tonight.
I pour shots into 

Niagara Falls and
Carlsbad Cavern glasses,

wondering who
the bastards were and if

they still walk the earth,
if their children understand

and love them, or are they
childless, or alone now,

writing fearful words
in small notebooks

no one else
is ever supposed to see.

About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

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